Two different people. I used to be this kid who wore black, that wore my grades as a mark of honor, who would smoke a cigarette and hold in my cough until no one was looking. I used to live in a world of dichotomies, I took one direction, judging those who took the other. Bitter and self-centered, I hated everything that wasn't within arm's reach, anything I had to work for. I was this lazy with all the best relationships I've ever held onto--from Nolan to my mother. I was like this in law school, in California. I left this person there, too.
In the last two months of living in Texas, living alone for the first time, I've grown into a new person. Soft and muted blues, greens, greys--I don't hide behind a layer of black, a 4.0, or in a puff of smoke, indiscernible from the fog that hung over Pittsburgh most mornings. I appreciate beauty and tones, floral and minimalism. I respect the curated life, the plant you buy for decoration and how it differs from the one you buy for herbs. I work with my hands now. I feel a vernal change in my bones to produce, to craft, to create. I have callouses that have softened over from when I would hold a pencil too long, back in the day when I held a pencil to write at all. My working hands are toiling again. I'm creating candy bars, confectionaries, memories. Someone's breakfast, someone's "cheat day".
I appreciate a good cup of coffee above most things, and that's something that hasn't changed between the old and the new life I have. That is why I went to Press Coffee with a simple idea: I want to sell candy. A simple stand, a couple dollars a bar, for an hour or two to get my name out there and have some fun doing it. Press was, to me, the perfect venue. From its wonderfully curated decor to its light-dappled cafe tables, Press understands appreciating the small, everyday victories of the perfect cup of coffee, the first bite of a crisp pastry, finding the just-right leather chair to sit in and enjoy the morning for what it is: an opportunity to create, relax, not take life too hard or seriously. I would have never thought of the generosity that would come of Natalie offering to give me liberty on stocking them as often as I could produce them.
I am dropping off my second order this morning. Twenty-seven bars of Matcha, Cookies and Cream, and Peanut Butter. They're delicate and snap when you break them. They're wrapped in the same designs I used for Nolan's Valentine's Day present, florals for spring*. They're one of the simple pleasures we allow ourselves to spend money on, and maybe one of my customers will share his with someone he loves today. I hope, whoever buys one, they'll recognize the attention each bar got from me. From cutting the wrappers to measuring the foil, to getting the perfect process of tempering and cooling, each bar was made from my hands, hands that once held pencils too tightly, cigarettes too loosely, and another boy's hand too recklessly.
If you're located in the San Antonio-area, stop by Press Coffee at 606 W French Place 78212, and maybe I'll see you there, too! (Usually for only, like, five minutes in the morning before work, though).
And finally, a special thanks to Samuel Nuñez for creating such an amazing logo, that inspired so much of my work this last month--from the candy bars to actually making this website a thing. Go check him out, too!